Oh, hello. I didn't see you come in. I was just sitting here in this armchair, with a large book in front of a fireplace and thinking about how Brad-favorite Dead Space 2 compares to an earlier "shoot the bad things in space until they go away" contemporary, id Software's Doom II. As you might remember from the last Old vs New I did ( situated hereabouts), I just do these compare & contrast things for fun, and to pass my boredom onto you, the reader. The fact that all these seem to be sci-fi games is purely coincidence.
POSTSCRIPT: Holy Christmas on Funkatron, I just started watching the Dead Space 2 Quick Look after getting halfway through this blog for ideas and they brought up Doom 2 as a comparison. That's some crazy selective memory loss. So, uh, this is Quick Look inspired? Let's go with that. To avoid issues.
SettingWell, it's space again. But specifically, it's a journey through metaphorical hell (Dead Space 2) and a journey through literal hell (Doom II). Also, while Doom 2 starts you on Earth, it was all originally on both of Mars' moons. Dead Space 2 recognizes that Mars is old and busted and moves its business to Saturn, the new hotness. Otherwise they're both mostly just space stations with occasional creepy goth architecture.
The Bad ThingsNow this is an interesting point. In either game, there seem to be two viewpoints on the creatures themselves: They're either biological weapons accidentally created by careless human research into ancient alien technology (something the Doom movie kind of stuck with), or they're some kind of religious phenomenon meant to deliver/tear us apart because Space Xenu Jesus is tired of us doing all the masturbating, or something. In both games you see evidence of either case, creating that kind of favorable narrative situation in horror media dealing with the unknown where you're given the opportunity to draw your own conclusions. But it's totally demons in Doom.
Pro-tah-gown-ist While Doomguy doesn't quite have the development arc Isaac does, he's about as fully-formed. They're both dudes that are getting kind of tired of dealing with monsters all the time. Considering this, it's probably best the Doomguy doesn't get much dialogue besides grunts and death screams. Isaac's a little more centered, except for the cluster f-bombs while stomping things, but he's still pretty much a normal guy in a bad situation (or a high-selling, critically-acclaimed series of bad situations) and little more than that. Ultimately, it's Doomguy who gets the most face time with the player, mostly because there's no way to get rid of his little avatar looking furtively around for demonic shenanigans.
Technology LevelBoth Dead Space and Doom take part in some arbitrarily far year in mankind's development (2511CE and "the future, I guess" CE respectively), but the technology level is decidedly different. While Doom's universe has invented portal technology (which didn't go quite as well as when Aperture Science did it), Dead Space's universe has created and refined both telekinesis and stasis to the point where soldiers have their own personal "tell the laws of physics to sit down and shut up" modules. Weaponry-wise, I'd say the BFG has it because giant green plasma shit seem to beat anything Dead Space's weapons can shoot out. Other than that, in Doom it's the same old shotguns and pistols and chainguns and tree-felling equipment for.. space trees. Most of Dead Space's weapons seem to be engineering tools that are impossibly hi-tech presumably because space engineers have an awesome union.
Outer Space (Not Outer Space, Iowa)Doom 2 won't let you go outside. Dead Space 2 does, but not too often and if you have to go out I hope you like getting shot at by giant testicle monsters. Doom 2 needed more airlocks to blast demons out of, but the technology wasn't there yet. But then Space Crusade had turn-based depressurization and I haven't seen anything that can beat that. Apparently the deadly vacuum of space moves one tile in every direction per turn, as all Warhammer 40k fans probably know.
Ammo Scarcity While Doom is hardly a prime example of Survival Horror, balancing your ammo supply is pretty important. At some point you will have to put away your empty rocket launcher and use the plasma rocket launcher for a while, and the game is sorry for making you do that. You also have a finite supply of ammo, which is about twenty times more than Rambo can fit on his bandolier (and he's a big dude). Adversely, Dead Space 2 has even less room for ammo and has to share space with gigantic sniper rifles and javelin guns, cans of health drank, microchips and other tiny bits of semiconductor circuitry. All of which take up equal amounts of room. Obviously. In Dead Space 2's favor though, you do get more ammo from the corpses of monsters made from the corpses of humans, but mysteriously not on the corpses of humans. It's almost as if the giant bat Infector assholes inducted newly-made necromorphs with "welcome to abomination orientation; here's your pointy monster limbs and this human item you can no longer comprehend, which we want you to store in a random limb for.. emergencies. I guess."
Death ScenesDoomguy just kind of gives up and slumps over at any number of health lower than one. Anything higher than or equal to that and he's just peachy though, if a little bloody. Isaac goes a little more analog rather than digital (I totally got these the wrong way around the first time! I have a brain problem!) with his health, as he starts slumping limply at low health and the joints connecting his limbs to his torso become all the more weaker. Dead Space 2 really put a lot of work into their death scenes, with at least one for every unique monster and some environmental hazards too. In all other cases a limb falls off and it's a trip (or a spastic flailing) to Ragdoll City for poor Isaac.
Survival HorrorSo here's the thing. Is Doom 2 Survival Horror? Is Dead Space 2 Survival Horror? Well, in both you're surviving a horrible situation, but thanks to Silent Hill's establishing of the iconic formula (laid down by predecessors like Clock Tower) it's hard to argue the case for either fitting the same mold. In Survival Horror, it's often more about the running away from Clive Barker highschool notebook sketches than sticking around and trying to figure out which of its surplus extremities it needs the most and then blasting it off with something explosive.
Monster ClosetBoth games do this because it's easy. There, I said it. I'm not sorry for saying it either. It's cheap as hell and completely expected. Well, it's unexpected, but it's expected that the unexpected is... I'm just going to move on.
Fucking Archviles Both Infectors (asshole bats) and Archviles (asshole meaty skeletons) have a nasty habit of speedily moving around a room and resurrecting everything. KILL THE CLERIC FIRST. The Infector is currently embroiled in a "chicken and egg" scenario: Either an Infector is needed to create a Necromorph, in which case how does the first Infector come about? Or it's the Marker that turns all nearby dead tissue into Necromorphs, making Infectors completely superfluous. But hey, what about that proboscis? It's pretty gross-looking, am I right? Totally worth bringing that plot hole monster back.
Missed anything? Doomguy doesn't hallucinate glowy dead broads ( "What the hell does that mean? huh? "Make Us Whole", I don't even know what the hell that means, all I know is this "Nicole" character comes out of thin air in the middle of a goddamn space hallway while her buddies are running around cutting everybody to shreds, and she just stands there waiting for me to stomp my boot straight through her, with light coming out of her mouth!") , and Isaac doesn't at any point pull a massive grin and start punching the begiblets out of everything. Maybe I should've done a System Shock 2 comparison with Dead Space 2, but then I'd have to do one for System Shock 2 and Bioshock, and then I'd have to do one for Bioshock and Deus Ex and then blah blah blah long story short I kill everyone and turn the gun on myself. I'll have to do something with a different theme next; all these space oddities are getting me down. What with all the floating in a peculiar way and the stars looking very different today. So to speak.